Category Archives: Holidays

Because There is Snow and Ice Falling Outside My Window…

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-461

…and because my posts have been a little heavy lately, I thought I would finally share some photos from our trip to Florida in December.

First, a little backstory:

  • Our kids didn’t want anything for Christmas. As in, I asked them to write lists and they all said, “I can’t think of anything.” It was at this point I felt reaffirmed in thankfulness for not having TV with commercials in our home. Our kids don’t even know what is out there to want!
  • I loathe winter. I am trying mightily hard to find some redeeming factors in winter by looking at the deeper lessons to be learned. I even went outside a few weeks ago to photograph the deadness of the trees and yard in an attempt to remind myself that even though we can’t see it, growth and rebirth are happening. In the end, though, the truth is simple: I hate being cold.
  • We desperately needed some time together as a family after my trip to the Philippines. Camping is always my favorite way to be together. Plus, it’s cheap and you rarely have to plan ahead. I won’t rehash my love for camping (though I never lack things to say about it). You can read some of my thoughts about it in this post.
  • Florida was warm. With the unseasonable warm fall and early winter in the US this year, Florida still had 85° air temps and 75° water temps. What more convincing was needed?

So, just a few days after returning home from the Philippines and with not a single Christmas gift planned or purchased, Jason and I decided to surprise the kids with a trip to Florida for the bulk of their Christmas present. We were fortunate to get a fantastic campsite with only a few days notice (so great, in fact, that when we checked in and the guy at the desk said, “Oh, what a great site! You booked December 9th? So that was December 9th of last year, right?” Nope. Just four days before arrival.

We wanted to really surprise the kids. So, I did a bit of Christmas shopping and wrapping. The kids couldn’t decide if they were glad to see presents under the tree two weeks before Christmas or if it was more like a form of parental torture. “Can’t we just open one?” A few days later I answered their oft repeated plea with, “Well, maybe we’ll let you open two.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-10 copy

It’s our tradition to let the youngest child open his/her present first and then move up the age order. After Zachary opened a pack of beach balls, Bethany opened a bucket of sand toys, and Katie opened a new rainbow kite, we started to hear unsure whispers of, “Are we going to beach?” The three bigs were then told to grab their specially-marked gifts and open them in unison. With boogie boards open, the kids were on to us. New swimsuits were opened next.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-28 copy

“Yes, we’re going to the beach! To Florida!”

To which they replied, “When?”

“Just as soon as the car is packed. Let’s see if we can make it out the door by lunch!”

Squeals of glee and frantic packing ensued. I was once again thankful for having a camper that stays stocked with everything but clothes and food. A few hours later, we were on the road.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-466

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-246

Let me tell you…it was bliss. Five days on the beach, our campsite just minutes away from the boardwalk. No useable internet to distract us. Easy camping food our kids love because we never buy that much sugar-laden prepackaged junk when we were home. An awesome tree that provided shade from the sun and hours of climbing fun and squirrel watching. Boogie boarding, an attempt at surfing, bird watching, gorgeous sunrises, fire and s’more by night, and lots of hot coffee (which I am sure the clubhouse regretted being complimentary after our family of eight trooped through every day.) We even got to spend a few hours with great friends who visited from Orlando.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-50

From where I sat (warm in the sand rather than chilly in the water), I kept telling my family, “I don’t need any Christmas gifts. This trip is the best gift I could ever ask for.” And it was. It reminded me of who our family is, what we enjoy, and how we “do life” best. There is little I like more than watching the people I love most in the world laugh and play and enjoy one another.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-542

And now, a photo overload. I have never been good at only sharing a few. Consider, though, that I took over 1500 photos, culled it down to 500 to edit, and I am only sharing a small fraction of those. If photos were a love language, I would claim it as my own.

©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-490©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-42 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-46©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-54©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-63©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-78©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-65©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-59
©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-81 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-88 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-103 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-120 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-123 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-126 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-128 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-131 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-136 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-140 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-141 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-153 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-170 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-172 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-175 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-185 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-192 copy ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-212 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-256 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-261 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-252 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-249 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-263 ©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-273 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-214©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-233©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-282©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-299©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-304©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-309©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-322©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-344©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-357©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-366©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-374©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-376©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-388©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-390©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-394©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-396 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-402©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-407©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-408©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-410©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-413©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-426©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-429 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-434 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-447©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-448©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-454©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-474©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-496©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-497 copy©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-502©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-510©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-512©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-519©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-534©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-587©janetphillips_floridatrip2015_web-585

Peppermint Cookies (aka Christmas Delight)

PTS | Peppermint Cookies

A few years ago during one of my pregnancy-induced cooking obsessions, I made dozens and dozens (and dozens) of various Christmas cookies. I even made my sister frozen cookie dough plates with about 20 dozen cookies of all varieties. It got a little out of hand.

Of all the cookies I made that year, though, these are by far our favorite. My husband took one bite and said, “It tastes like Christmas delight in my mouth!” The kids love them because they taste good. I love them because they are so stinkin’ pretty.

I actually combined a few recipes, with the original inspiration being a sweet friend who brought similar cookies to a cookie exchange. I used a different chocolate cookie recipe and then added a few steps of my own (to make it all pretty!) The end result is two soft cookies with light crispy outsides, sandwiched together with oh-so-creamy peppermint frosting. White chocolate (or powdered sugar icing) drizzled over the top and sprinkled with crushed peppermint finishes them off.

PTS | Peppermint Cookies 2

Peppermint Cookies

Yield: 20

filled cookies

Peppermint Cookies

Ingredients

    COOKIES
  • 1 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • PEPPERMINT FILLING
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • GLAZE
  • White chocolate bark OR powdered sugar icing

Instructions

    COOKIES
  1. Cream butter and sugar on medium until fluffy (aprox 1 minute).
  2. Add eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  3. Mix in vanilla.
  4. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
  5. Add mixture slowly to the butter/sugar mix.
  6. Beat until combined.
  7. Drop spoonfuls (I prefer to use a cookie scoop to ensure same sized cookies) on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8-10 minutes. (I like to remove them when edges look crisp but centers still look slightly moist.)
  8. Remove cookie sheets and let the cookies stay on the sheets for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack or paper towels.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely. While cooling, make your filling.
  10. PEPPERMINT FILLING
  11. In a large bowl, beat softened butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
  12. Add 2 vanilla and peppermint extracts.
  13. Beat in 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar.
  14. Beat in the 2 Tbsp of milk.
  15. Beat in remaining powdered sugar until smooth.
  16. PUTTING THE COOKIES TOGETHER
  17. Once the cookies are cool and your filling is made, take two cookies and place filling between them, being careful not to bed or break the cookie (I fill a pastry bag with the filling and then quickly pipe the filling on an upside down cookie) Repeat for remaining cookies.
  18. Place all the filled cookies on a cookie sheet (line with wax paper if using white chocolate for glaze). Melt chocolate according to package instructions. Fill a pastry bag or zipper bag with chocolate or icing and snip a small opening.
  19. Quickly drizzle over the cookies, adding crushed peppermints before chocolate/icing hardens.

©janetphillips_december22_2015_web-9 ©janetphillips_december22_2015_web-12©janetphillips_december22_2015_web-14 copy

If you find yourself with some extra time and a craving for peppermint, I can’t recommend these cookies enough. And although they contain more sugar in one cookie than I normally consume in an entire week, the indulgence was 100% worth it. One warning: if there are leftovers, the kids (and husband) just might ask for them for breakfast. You can say no if you have cinnamon rolls in the oven like I do.

Enjoy!

Back Where I Belong

©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-6 copy

Bethany, our four year old, has quite a way with words. She always surprises us. On the way home from the airport yesterday, she told me, “I missed you as much as I love Gracie!” (Gracie is our dog.) She must have missed me very, very much for me to be anywhere close to on par with Gracie!

©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-23 copy

Later she told me, “I missed you to the last number!” She later wanted to clarify her statement so she was sure I understood the extent of her missing me: “Mom, you know the numbers never end, right? That’s why I missed you to the last number!”

Right back at you, kiddo.

My trip to the Philippines was amazing. I talked with so many people and listened to so many stories. The work going on in Davao is truly inspirational. I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to travel there, spending twelve days learning more about the work and location than I would have been able to do in months if my family were with me. Most days I woke up with few plans and little idea of what the day had in store, and yet each day managed to be filled with new people and new stories. I definitely wasn’t bored, nor did I play the tourist. Instead, I sought the stories of those living and serving. I was not disappointed. I also appreciated the time I had alone, the time to read and write and process and pray. God did some pretty amazing things in my heart as He and I wrestled deeply with questions of ministry, purpose, God’s will, and the power of God’s Word.

I will be sharing more about my trip in the coming days, but for now, suffice it to say, I am back where I belong. As amazing as the trip was, I was incredibly grateful to step off my 12th flight in as many days and walk out of the airport to see my people. Oh how I missed them! I missed their hugs and snuggles and kisses and I missed their creativity, sensitivity, and maybe even a tiny bit of their hyperactivity. Our home is loud and crazy and filled with all sorts of uncertainties, but of this I am certain: my place is with them. My family is such a gift and I can’t imagine doing life without their love and support.

©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-6

©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-12 copy©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-22©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-26©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-13 ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-10 copy ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-8 copy ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-7 copy ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-3 ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-2 copy ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-1 copy©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-16©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-18 copy©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-20 copy

I’ve spent the last 24 hours just soaking it in. The kids had a welcome home party planned, complete with cupcakes and a talent show. The Christmas tree was up, just waiting for me to return so we could decorate together. Although I had been joining the family for Advent lessons via video calling, it was so much better to be with them in person as we learned about the way people celebrate Christmas around the world. We played a Japanese Christmas game and laughed at the little ones’ antics. Today Jason took Katie to the store and the rest of us cuddled on my bed as we watched silly pet videos on youtube, laughing as Gracie tried to get into the computer to the other dogs.

©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-30 ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-29 ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-28 ©janetphillips_december6_2015_web-27

I’m back where I belong and it feels so good.

That’s a Wrap {Birthday Season 2015}

PTS | That's a WrapIt’s finally done…birthday season 2015. Eight birthdays in three months (seven of those being in eight weeks) is exhausting.

dates3

 

People often ask if we just combine birthdays since they are all so close. And we always say, “No!”

There are many perks to being in a large family. I love it and wouldn’t ever want to change it. However, there are hard things too. Out of necessity, a lot of things in our life have to happen as a group. But birthdays? Those are a day to celebrate an INDIVIDUAL and to make that person know how thankful we are they were born. We want to celebrate the joy they bring to our life and look to the future and pray expectantly for good things to come. We take each birthday to make the day all about that one child, showering them with love, yummy food, and a few gifts.

Our tradition has been to let the kids choose the meals for the day (it used to be dinner, which is what my parents did for us, but somehow over the years it has crept into choosing all the meals. And of course, they often pick the hardest or most time consuming!) We also let them give input on decorations. They each have the choice of a family activity or a party. Over the years, we have only had three parties (two of them this year!) We love doing things as a family and that is most often their choice.

This year was a great year of celebrating each of our children (and my birthday and Jason’s birthdays fall right in the middle of all that!)  As much as I love the fun and creativity that comes with birthday season, I am usually quite happy to see it go. Now I have until the end of January before I have to plan another birthday!

Here is birthday season 2015 in review!

Alaina

Katie

Bethany

Zachary

Levi

Caleb

 

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-32

Let Dad Be Dad (again)

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-23

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a post entitled Let Dad Be Dad. It was based on some of the best parenting advice I have ever received. I think this mindset has been key in our marriage and in our parenting. If I had tried to make Jason parent like me, I would have squashed his spirit and taken much of the joy out of parenting for both of us.

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-20

I won’t rehash my thoughts; you can read them here. I do think, though, another dose of photographic proof might be in order.

The two older boys decided on a birthday party this year. Our children are allowed to choose between a family activity and a party. They usually choose to do something as a family, but this year the boys wanted to celebrate with a few friends. And really, they just wanted an excuse to play more football.

For the younger kids this year, I purchased piñatas. Never ones to miss a chance to get candy, the boys wanted one for their party. Since I gave Jason the reigns of the party beyond the food, the piñata and other activities were up to him.

When it was time for the piñata and the kids were all on the front porch, I took a few moments to rest in my room. I was quietly checking email when I hear this from the porch:

“Now, in Piñata ninja, you have two choices: two hits with the nunchucks or one flying kick.”

Um, “piñata ninja?” What is this man up to?

I snuck outside to hear the rest of the directions. I grabbed my camera to prove once again this man is crazy and that my kids are so incredibly blessed to have Jason as their dad.

Fifteen minutes of nunchucks, headbutts, flying kicks, and karate chops later, the coveted candy spilled and the boys joyfully descended like vultures.

Yes. Always. Let dad be dad.

And let dad run boy birthday parties.

©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-38 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-39 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-36 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-35 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-34 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-33 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-32 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-31 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-22 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-24 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-25 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-26 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-27 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-28 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-29 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-30 ©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-21©janetphillips_may2_2015_web-42 copy

Eleven

©janetphillips_caleb-93

My sweet Caleb is eleven today.

I didn’t know I was having a boy. I suspected, but chose to be surprised. After a long labor, a sweet boy was handed to me and I thought, “What am I going to do with a boy?”

I continued to ask myself that question over the next few years. Girls I understood. But boys? I don’t get them at all. How can I be a mother to a boy?

Two years later, the Lord then blessed me with another boy and I have spent these eleven years learning what it means to be a mother to a boy (or three).

It means watching the warrior heart of God shine bright through rough play, sword fighting, and sports. It means lots of sweet cuddles from boys with big hearts. It means trusting that when my mothering instincts fail, God’s fathering instincts have been there all along.

I love my sweet Caleb. He was the squishiest, most kissable cheeks on the planet. I could kiss them all day.

I love his zest for life. He’s so much like me: what he loves, he loves deeply and completely (admittedly, bordering on far into the territory of obsession). His ages and stages have changed, but his passion remains.

I had so much fun going through photos, trying to choose which to show. I couldn’t narrow it down. Every single moment of his life has been filled with great joy and love.

I love you, sweet Caleb. You are such an awesome kid and I am so glad to get to be your mom. You have taught me so much and have inspired so many. Your tenacity and loyalty will take you far.

©janetphillips_caleb-2 ©janetphillips_caleb-3 ©janetphillips_caleb-4 ©janetphillips_caleb-5 ©janetphillips_caleb-6 ©janetphillips_caleb-7 ©janetphillips_caleb-8 ©janetphillips_caleb-9 ©janetphillips_caleb-10 ©janetphillips_caleb-11 ©janetphillips_caleb-12 ©janetphillips_caleb-13 ©janetphillips_caleb-14 ©janetphillips_caleb-15 ©janetphillips_caleb-16 ©janetphillips_caleb-17 ©janetphillips_caleb-18 ©janetphillips_caleb-19 ©janetphillips_caleb-20 ©janetphillips_caleb-21 ©janetphillips_caleb-22 ©janetphillips_caleb-23 ©janetphillips_caleb-24 ©janetphillips_caleb-25 ©janetphillips_caleb-26 ©janetphillips_caleb-27 ©janetphillips_caleb-28 ©janetphillips_caleb-29 ©janetphillips_caleb-30 ©janetphillips_caleb-31 ©janetphillips_caleb-33 copy ©janetphillips_caleb-33 copy2 ©janetphillips_caleb-36 ©janetphillips_caleb-37 ©janetphillips_caleb-38 ©janetphillips_caleb-39 ©janetphillips_caleb-40 ©janetphillips_caleb-41 ©janetphillips_caleb-42 ©janetphillips_caleb-43 ©janetphillips_caleb-44 ©janetphillips_caleb-45 ©janetphillips_caleb-46 ©janetphillips_caleb-47 ©janetphillips_caleb-48 ©janetphillips_caleb-49 ©janetphillips_caleb-50 ©janetphillips_caleb-51 ©janetphillips_caleb-52 ©janetphillips_caleb-53 ©janetphillips_caleb-54 ©janetphillips_caleb-55 ©janetphillips_caleb-56 ©janetphillips_caleb-57 ©janetphillips_caleb-58 ©janetphillips_caleb-59 ©janetphillips_caleb-60 ©janetphillips_caleb-61_b ©janetphillips_caleb-61 ©janetphillips_caleb-62 ©janetphillips_caleb-63 ©janetphillips_caleb-64 ©janetphillips_caleb-65 ©janetphillips_caleb-66 ©janetphillips_caleb-67 ©janetphillips_caleb-68 ©janetphillips_caleb-69 ©janetphillips_caleb-70 ©janetphillips_caleb-71 ©janetphillips_caleb-72 ©janetphillips_caleb-73 ©janetphillips_caleb-74
©janetphillips_caleb-76 ©janetphillips_caleb-77 ©janetphillips_caleb-78 ©janetphillips_caleb-79 ©janetphillips_caleb-80 ©janetphillips_caleb-81 ©janetphillips_caleb-82 ©janetphillips_caleb-83 ©janetphillips_caleb-84 ©janetphillips_caleb-85 ©janetphillips_caleb-86 ©janetphillips_caleb-87 ©janetphillips_caleb-88 ©janetphillips_caleb-89 ©janetphillips_caleb-90 ©janetphillips_caleb-91 ©janetphillips_caleb-92©janetphillips_caleb-93

Z-Man

Our sweet (and crazy) Zachary turned two on Monday. He has been such an amazing addition to our family and although he keeps us very busy, I couldn’t imagine our lives without him. He is adored by his siblings and they fight over him, his hugs, his kisses, and his crazy antics. He’s such a sweet guy, a total mix of his two brothers. I can’t wait to see who he becomes.

©janetphillips_march23_2013_web-33March 24

©janetphillips_may14_2013_web-7April 4April 12©janetphillips_may14_2013_web-17©janetphillips_may14_2013_web-26
July 25July 13August 16August 21September 14September 23September 18September 5November 6November 4June 25November 18November 27November 30March 20March 7February 23March 23©janetphillips_march23_web-22©janetphillips_march23_2014_web-85February 13 (ipod)December 29December 27December 12August 27April 30October 20October 5May 11
June 1August 22 (phone)©janetphillips_october10_2014_web-20©janetphillips_september28_2014_web-68©janetphillips_january6_2015_web-36©janetphillips_december5_2014_web-75©janetphillips_january17_2015_web-28©janetphillips_january31_2015_web-1©janetphillips_february18_2015_web-10©janetphillips_february26_2015_web-54August 22 (phone)November 3October 2November 26November 16

Our Beppy Girl

 

Our sweet Beppy girl is FOUR! She has been waiting so long. The last eleven days (since Katie’s birthday) have been especially difficult. “Your birthday is next” meant “the very next day” in her little heart, and we had a lot of tears to wipe the morning after Katie’s birthday when we informed her that she still had ten more days to wait.

I love this girl. There is a love that is so deep, so fierce. Of course I love all of my kids, but this girl has a special place in my heart. First, she is the only of my children to make an appearance early (six days early, bless her heart!) That in and of itself awards her favorite child status. But more than that, we share a love language. We both speak and listen in words of affirmation.

I have never met a child like this girl. Ever since she was about ten months old and could sign, she has been saying please and thank you without being prompted. She hasn’t changed since. She is quick to offer affirming words at any and all occasions. Regularly she throws her arms around me and says, “I so very love you.” When dad brought her to see the toy kitchen we gave her this morning, she ran to him and said, “You’re the best dad ever!” This morning when I was making her cake, she said with all seriousness, “I’m so sorry.” “For what?” I asked. “For not being able to stay three forever.” (She knows I LOVE THREE).

Bethany Noelle is such a blessing to our family. I can’t wait to see what God does with her amazing personality. I know it’s going to be huge!

 

2011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl2011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-32011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-22011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-42011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-52011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-62011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-72011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-82011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-92011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-102011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-112011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-122011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-132011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-142011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-152011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-172011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-182011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-192011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-202011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-222011©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-232012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-22012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-32012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-42012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-52012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-62012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-72012©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl2013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-22013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-32013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl2013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-52013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-42013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-72013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-82013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-102013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-112013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-122013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-132013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-142013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-152013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-162013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-172013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-182013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-192013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-202013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-212013©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-222014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-22014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-32014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-42014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-52014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-62014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-72014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-82014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl2014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-92014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-102014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-112014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-122014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-132014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-142014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-15
2014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-172014©janetphillips_ourbeppygirl-18

Seven

1929484_9976325764_9906_n

 

Our sweet Katie is seven. SEVEN.

20150307-Katies Birth Announcement

Most of the time, time passes and I wonder where it all went. It usually seems as if it goes so fast. But with Katie, I can’t say that. The beginning of her life marked the beginning of so much of mine that I find it hard to believe all that has happened in seven short years.

1929484_9976470764_4285_n 1929484_9976480764_4882_n

When Katie was three weeks old, we found out that we were unexpectedly leaving our job in Florida. We had no idea where we were going to go. The next month was filled with a lot of anxiety as we wondered about life with four kids age five and under with no job, no house, no insurance, no ideas.  But God…I love that most of my stories have a “but God” phrase where His amazing power gets all the glory.

But God had plans for us, plans we knew nothing of, plans that would give us breath and life. This post is about Katie, though, so I won’t go into all that moving to Indonesia did for me, for our family, or about how the grief of missing it is so thick right now.

I can’t help think of Indonesia, though, when I think of our sweet Katie. At four months, we moved to the island of Java, and while there we have watched her grow into this sweet, crazy, selfie-obsessed freckle-faced girl. She keeps us laughing, she keeps us guessing, and she keeps us in awe of God’s creativity in creating her.

20090120-January 22 20090126-January 26 20090221-February 22 20090224-February 24 20090306-March 10 20090412-April 12 20090611-June 11 20090616-June 16 20091029-October 29 20091228-December 28 20100103-January 3 20100107-January 7 20100112-January 12 20100120-January 21 20100203-February 3 20100208-February 8 20100214-February 14 20100220-February 20 20100225-February 25 20100306-March 9 20100402-April 2 20100627-June 27 20100708-July 8 20100730-July 30 20100921-September 22 20101009-October 9 20101031-October 30 20101112-November 12 20101229-December 30 20110104-January 4 20110120-January 20 20110131-January 31 20110207-February 7 20110306-March 8 20110331-March 31 20110418-April 18 20110609-June 9 20110629-June 29 20110815-August 15 20110902-September 2 20110909-September 9 20110921-September 21 20111123-November 23 20111214-December 14 20111216-December 16 20120119-January 19 20120125-January 25 20120129-January 29 20120221-February 21 20120306-March 6 20120307-March 7 20120314-March 14

20130216-February 15 20130314-February 27 20130314-March 6 20130606-May 30 20130917-September 13 20131107-©janetphillips_november6_2013-18 20131124-©janetphillips_november21_2013-10 20131124-©janetphillips_november21_2013-72 20140109-January 8 20140309-March 11 20140505-April 24 20140528-May 28 20140618-June 13 20140813-August 13 20140930-©janetphillips_september28_2014-77 20141004-October 3 20141011-October 10 20141121-November 10 20141126-November 22

 

 

Twelve Years

©janetphillips_alainais12_web-75

I wanted to be a mama.

Really, it’s all I ever wanted.

I dreamed many dreams about holding my babies, about a little girl running around in braids, about pouring out love immeasurable.

During my freshman year of college, hitting the lowest possible low a human heart can hit, I sat at the sink of my dorm room making a choice: a choice to end the pain or to hold out hope for a family.

Hope won out and God’s grace and love quickly filled the many broken parts of me. I switched schools, waited while others planned their weddings, and prayed for the little girl in braids.

After three miscarriages, many tears, and learning what a sacrifice of praise was, God gave me a beautiful gift. Alaina, her name chosen while I was still in high school, was born in a hospital in Bangalore, India.

©janetphillips_alainais12_web-86©janetphillips_alainais12_web-79©janetphillips_alainais12_web-84©janetphillips_alainais12_web-85

And now, twelve years later, my mama heart still beats strong.  In a world that uses awful phrases like, “just a mom,” my heart is filled with songs of praise that God would allow me the privilege of watching and taking an active role in one of HIs creations growing into His eternal purpose for their life.

And what a privilege it has been to be a mama to this girl. There aren’t words enough to describe my sweet Alaina. Perfect, she is not. Perfect, I am not. That’s why we have the hope of eternity. One day we will fully be like our Creator. Until then, we stand amazed at the many facets of His personality we get to display here on earth.

She’s patient.
She’s eager to learn.
She’s dependable.
She loves the Lord.
She loves her siblings.
She is an amazing cook.
She’s beautiful.
She’s stylish.
She doesn’t complain.
She loves to travel.
She’s creative.
She’s intelligent.
She loves to read.
She loves to write.

She, like the rest of my children, are a blessing to me. But more than that, oh so much more than that, I pray that she will be a blessing to others. I pray that the ripple effects of a life lived in love and grace will extend to the farthest sea. I pray that Alaina will see and understand God’s great love for her and that He purposely chose her for this family, for this time, for this place. None of it was an accident. None of it is without purpose. He has great plans for this girl and I will continue to pray that she will willingly enter into this great love and purpose for her life. It’s gonna be a good one, of that I am sure.

And now, more for my enjoyment rather than yours, a very long photographic walk down memory lane. Twelve years. I am so thankful.

©janetphillips_alainais12_web-78 ©janetphillips_alainais12_web-80 ©janetphillips_alainais12_web-81 ©janetphillips_alainais12_web-82 ©janetphillips_alainais12_web-83 ©janetphillips_alainais12_web-87©janetphillips_alainais12_web-1©janetphillips_alainais12_web-2©janetphillips_alainais12_web-3©janetphillips_alainais12_web-4©janetphillips_alainais12_web-5©janetphillips_alainais12_web-6©janetphillips_alainais12_web-7©janetphillips_alainais12_web-8©janetphillips_alainais12_web-76©janetphillips_alainais12_web-77©janetphillips_alainais12_web-9©janetphillips_alainais12_web-10©janetphillips_alainais12_web-11©janetphillips_alainais12_web-12©janetphillips_alainais12_web-13©janetphillips_alainais12_web-14©janetphillips_alainais12_web-15©janetphillips_alainais12_web-16©janetphillips_alainais12_web-17©janetphillips_alainais12_web-18©janetphillips_alainais12_web-19©janetphillips_alainais12_web-20©janetphillips_alainais12_web-21©janetphillips_alainais12_web-22©janetphillips_alainais12_web-23©janetphillips_alainais12_web-24©janetphillips_alainais12_web-25©janetphillips_alainais12_web-26©janetphillips_alainais12_web-27©janetphillips_alainais12_web-28©janetphillips_alainais12_web-29©janetphillips_alainais12_web-30©janetphillips_alainais12_web-31©janetphillips_alainais12_web-32©janetphillips_alainais12_web-33©janetphillips_alainais12_web-34©janetphillips_alainais12_web-35©janetphillips_alainais12_web-36©janetphillips_alainais12_web-37©janetphillips_alainais12_web-38©janetphillips_alainais12_web-39©janetphillips_alainais12_web-40©janetphillips_alainais12_web-41©janetphillips_alainais12_web-42©janetphillips_alainais12_web-43©janetphillips_alainais12_web-44©janetphillips_alainais12_web-45©janetphillips_alainais12_web-46©janetphillips_alainais12_web-47©janetphillips_alainais12_web-48©janetphillips_alainais12_web-49©janetphillips_alainais12_web-50©janetphillips_alainais12_web-51©janetphillips_alainais12_web-52©janetphillips_alainais12_web-53©janetphillips_alainais12_web-54©janetphillips_alainais12_web-55©janetphillips_alainais12_web-56©janetphillips_alainais12_web-57©janetphillips_alainais12_web-58©janetphillips_alainais12_web-59©janetphillips_alainais12_web-60©janetphillips_alainais12_web-61©janetphillips_alainais12_web-62©janetphillips_alainais12_web-63©janetphillips_alainais12_web-64©janetphillips_alainais12_web-65©janetphillips_alainais12_web-66©janetphillips_alainais12_web-67©janetphillips_alainais12_web-68©janetphillips_alainais12_web-69©janetphillips_alainais12_web-70©janetphillips_alainais12_web-71©janetphillips_alainais12_web-72©janetphillips_alainais12_web-73©janetphillips_alainais12_web-74

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...